At the two-day conference themed “Shaping the Future”, currently underway in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, key participants in the pension industry across the continent gathered to discuss the importance and development of pension industries in Africa.
“It is imperative that stakeholders in this life shaping-industry engage constantly in dialogues to bolster management frameworks and practices in their respective jurisdictions,” Jonathan said during the summit.
The summit, which is the first of its type in Africa, also marks the 10th anniversary of the pension reform in Nigeria that led to the enactment of the Pension Reform Act of 2004.
The act introduced the Contributory Pension Scheme and established PenCom as the regulator of all pension matters in the country.
“For us here in Nigeria, this meeting is taking place at a time of pronounced transformation in all facets of our national life,” Jonathan explained.
“In 2004, the Pension Reforms Act was enacted by the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to address the recurrent challenges experienced in the administration of pensions and to enhance efficiency in the system.”
The contributory Pension Scheme was created to strengthen corporate governance arrangements that are radically different from the past mismanaged public sector pension schemes.
The success recorded in the implementation of the scheme resulted in a fully-funded pension scheme that delivers on the promise of timely payment.
“In 10 years of sustained policy innovation and meticulous management, this has facilitated confidence and credibility in our pension system and administration,” said Jonathan.
He added that it also strengthened the pension institutions to transit from a deficit of about 12.9 billion dollars in 2004 to accumulate pension assets of over 27.2 billion dollars by March this year.
Earlier in the year, the president approved the establishment of a pension transitional arrangement department, in line with the Section 30, Sub Section (2a) of the amended Pension Reform Act of 2004.
Currently, one of the goals for Nigeria’s pension system include digitalising pension payments as a means of streamlining and ensuring ease of payment.
Six days ago, Jonathan also signed the Pension Reform Bill 2014 into law, which is expected to govern and regulate the administration of the uniform pension scheme for both public and private sectors in Nigeria, repealing the Pension Reform Act No 2 of 2004.
“The new law seeks to consolidate the gains of reforms, address the identified implementation challenges and provide the enabling legal environment,” said Jonathan.
“[This will] facilitate the creation of fitting instruments through which pension assets can be best invested for infrastructure and real estate development.”